Molecular Imaging Strategies for In Vivo Tracking of MicroRNAs: A Comprehensive Review

Author(s): R. Hernandez, H. Orbay, W. Cai.

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 20 , Issue 29 , 2013

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Abstract:

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded non-coding RNAs of ~22 nucleotides, which can negatively regulate gene expression through induction of mRNA degradation and/or post-transcriptional gene silencing. MiRNAs are key factors in the regulation of many biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and death. Since miRNAs are known to be in close association with cancer development, non-invasive imaging of miRNA expression and/or activity is of critical importance, for which conventional molecular biology techniques are not suitable or applicable. Over the last several years, various molecular imaging techniques have been investigated for imaging of miRNAs. In this review article, we summarize the current state-of-the-art imaging of miRNAs, which are typically based on fluorescent proteins, bioluminescent enzymes, molecular beacons, and/or various nanoparticles. Non-invasive imaging of miRNA expression and/or biological activity is still at its infancy. Future research on more clinically relevant, non-toxic techniques is required to move the field of miRNA imaging into clinical applications. Non-invasive imaging of miRNA is an invaluable method that can not only significantly advance our understandings of a wide range of human diseases, but also lead to new and more effective treatment strategies for these diseases.

Keywords: microRNA (miRNA), bioluminescence imaging (BLI), fluorescence imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), molecular imaging, cancer, nanomedicine.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 20
ISSUE: 29
Year: 2013
Page: [3594 - 3603]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/0929867311320290005
Price: $58

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